… My hands are clean – CCB Chairman cries, too
The Non-Governmental Organization Save The Soul Transparency & Eagle Eyes International Foundation has accused Isah Mohammed, Chairman of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), and Murtala Aliyu Kankia, Board Member Representing Katsina State of compromising high profile cases ‘purely for selfish monetary gain.’
In a petition exclusively obtained by SecretReporters, the NGO said it picked a unique interest in the activities of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) since 2017 due to high hydra corruption discovered in the first dormant anti-corruption agency.
The NGO stated that Isah and Murtala are known for sabotaging the efforts of the Federal Government of Nigeria and have compromised high-profile cases for selfish monetary gains. The organization said it monitored the activities of Isah Mohammed and discovered that he and Murtala Aliyu illegally and unlawfully procured a property in Asokoro, Abuja.
The property was said to have a price value of N540,000,000, but CCB’s Chairman added a ‘selfish and outrageous’ amount of N350,000,000.00, bringing the sum to N900,000,000.00.
The document reads: “We were shocked that Professor Isah Mohammed, whose notorious tenure ought to end on 7th November 2023, is frantically pushing to defraud the Federal Government and the entire citizens again by ensuring he and his man Friday (KANKIA) illegally and unlawfully acquire and procure PLOT 900103, HAILE SELASSIE STREET ASOKORO ABUJA FEDERAL CAPITAL TERRITORY by any hoax means possible at a highly overloaded amount. A very outrageous amount of (N900,000,000.00) instead of at most N500,000,000.”
It is pertinent to note that the CCB Asset Management Unit has occupied the said property on a rental agreement with the owner of the property for a few years now. The owner further informed the Chairman of the CCB of the intent to sell his property for N540,000,000, but Prof. Isah, in his ‘own illicit wisdom,’ overloaded the price to N900,000,000.00. It looks as though Isah wants an exit package for himself in November 2023.
“The CCB Asset Management unit has occupied the above-mentioned plot on the rental agreement with the owner of the property (landlord) for years now.
“The owner in the past months opted to show the intent of sale of his above property to any available buyer at the asking price of Five Hundred and Forty Million Naira (N540,0000,000) only speculatively anyway. He made his intent known to his tenant (CCB). The crux of this petition is that there was never at any time the Board members and the chairman ever sat to deliberate on this subject matter. The Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act 1991 is very clear.
“Section 1(2) ” The Bureau shall consist of a Chairman and nine other members who shall (a) a person of unimpeachable integrity in the Nigerian society and (b) at the time of appointment, not less than fifty years.”
“By this, the chairman is first among equals. The chairman, in this instant case and as usual in all his dealings never had any meeting with the board members; never was there any Board Resolution at any time on the highly loaded property the chairman is unilaterally lobbying to procure at the sum of Nine Hundred million Naira (N900,000,000.00) only today. There was never a market Valuation for the property by the appropriate bodies that ought to ascertain the market value.
“The Chairman is on an illegal/ unlawful and selfish procurement mission to deceive the Central BANK of Nigeria to acquire the property for and on behalf of CCB.
“The landlord had approached the Chairman of the CCB with the intent to sell his property, and he was categorical on his price/value of N540,000,000, but the Chairman, in his own illicit wisdom, is intentionally overloading the price/value to N900,000,000 maybe as exit package for himself on November 7th, 2023.”
The NGO has called on the President of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and other concerned bodies to be careful of their dealings with Professor Isah’s ‘greedy request’.
CCB Chairman reacts
When contacted, Isah Mohammed said he was never a part of the process of securing the property. He maintained that the allegation is false, stressing that he is innocent of the claim.
“What actually happened, this Asokoro, they have been renting it before I became Chairman. I met CCB renting this Asokoro office. By the time I came in, I found out that they were paying N15 million annually for the rent. I met a backlog of rent, which I worked hard to pay out of the prudent management of the little resources we are getting. At that time, we were getting about N36 million monthly as overhead, and we pay from that overhead, the rent.
“We are not getting a full release, so at the end of the day, we found out that we are having problems. I don’t know whether you know our headquarters office here in the Secretariat. We are here, and Asokoro houses three of our departments and very critical departments, for that matter. Our three asset declaration departments are in Asokoro. Store facilities are also there”.
He continued “So when we came in, we have been trying to secure an office accommodation for CCB. Unfortunately, as God may have it, we couldn’t get one. So, I went to CBN, and CBN said that we should find some property to pay rent for us that is befitting of CCB. So I sent the then Director General Services to survey some good locations here in Abuja, but what we discovered that there is no property less than 50 million per annum for us to pay rent.
“So, later I went back to CBN and I told them instead of paying rent for us please why can’t you buy this Asokoro property for CCB because we have a lot of ICT installations there, but now we have gone online in respect of our asset declaration. Now, even if we get a rented property that would perpetually be paid for by CBN or any other organization or through our budgetary allocation, that means we have to move everything to the new office. So, I told them to let them buy this property and give it to us. Then they gave me a condition. They said okay, I can write, but they are going to do the transactions on their own through their own internal process, acquire this property, and then after acquiring it, they will donate it back to CCB. I said if that is the case, there is nothing bad in that.”
“So I wrote a request to the CBN seeking them to support us through their corporate social responsibility by acquiring that property on behalf of CCB. So, they subjected the application to their own internal process. (1). They sent their procurement department to value that property. (2)They got an external valuer to go value that property, and (3) They subjected this to the scrutiny under their legal department”.
He maintained, “We have never had any hand or influence in all they have been doing. In fact, when they talked to me at a point in time that they wanted to access the owner of the property, I gave them the number of their office lawyer through whom we do pay our rent annually, but before then, when I saw the process was slow and I couldn’t have any information, I met the Acting Governor to find out what was happening. He assured me they were going to do it, and he had already directed that all processes be completed, and he had even approved. I was in his office when he said that let him call the Director of Procurement. I said no, I don’t need to see him.
“You see, I take you by your words, and that is the last time and the first time I saw this Acting Governor solely on this single matter, and I have never communicated with the Director of Procurement. I have never communicated with anybody until at the point in time when there was some problem. I then asked for the number of the Director Legal of CBN and that problem was that I came to understand or I learned that there was a request from part of the board members at the CBN, that their interest be accommodated in the transaction. I called Fatima who is a secretary to the board and I told her this was what I heard but I don’t know, so let me find out if this was true. So, I asked a brother to the Director of Legal Services in the Central Bank. I asked his brother who is a board member here to give me his number for the first time which he gave me. I called him, I asked him, and he told me that they were about to finish the process”.
Harping on the petition, he said, “This property, even the central bank is yet to acquire it. I don’t know whether he acquired it today or by Friday, or last Friday, but I know I spoke with the Deputy Governor who was charged with concluding this transaction last week. As at last week, when I spoke with him, he told me they were yet to conclude the transaction with the landlord. It is just mere speculation by some people who are looking for a gain or who are thinking that the Chairman is benefiting from this transaction in one way or another, so but as I told you, believe me, last time I heard of this story, let me swear to you by God, walahi I felt some relief. I was never in any way panicked or in any way annoyed by this information. It is never a new thing. I know this is not the only petition that this organization wrote. There are so many branches of this organization that wrote a number of petitions against me, but anytime we pick any of the petitions and look at it, we find out that the petition is an empty one so, this is my submission on this and also I want to thank you for trying to balance this story”.